Archive for November 2012

Proper 6, Year C   Leave a comment

passing-through-gethsemane-06

Above:  A Scene from Passing Through Gethsemane, a 1995 Episode of Babylon 5

Sin, Consequences, Remorse, Repentance, and Forgiveness

The Sunday Closest to June 15

Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

JUNE 12, 2016

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The Assigned Readings:

1 Kings 21:1-10 (11-14), 15-21a and Psalm 5:1-8

or 

2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15 and Psalm 32

then 

Galatians 2:15-21

Luke 7:36-8:3

The Collect:

Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

Proper 6, Year A:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/proper-6-year-a/

 Proper 6, Year B:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/proper-6-year-b/

Prayer of Praise and Adoration:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/prayer-of-praise-and-adoration-for-the-fourth-sunday-after-pentecost/

Prayer of Dedication:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/prayer-of-dedication-for-the-fourth-sunday-after-pentecost/

 1 Kings 21:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/week-of-proper-6-monday-year-2/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/week-of-proper-6-tuesday-year-2/

2 Samuel 11-12:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/week-of-3-epiphany-saturday-year-2/

Galatians 2:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/week-of-proper-22-wednesday-year-2/

Luke 7-8:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/devotion-for-the-eighteenth-day-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/devotion-for-the-nineteenth-twentieth-and-twenty-first-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/week-of-proper-19-thursday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/week-of-proper-19-thursday-year-2-and-week-of-proper-19-friday-year-2/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/week-of-proper-19-friday-year-1/

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The Old Testament options are stories of perfidious people (one alleged to be a man after after God’s own heart), each arranging for the death of an inconvenient person.  Naboth had no desire to surrender his vineyard, nor should he have.  And Uriah was a good commander and a loyal husband.  In each case there were divine judgment and consequences.  Ahab’s dynasty fell.  Jezebel died.  David faced internal political troubles.  And the first child of David and Bathsheba died.  That an innocent suffered troubles me; one does not ask one’s parents to conceive one.  But at least David, when confronted, expressed remorse.

The sinful woman (not St. Mary of Magdala, by the way) in Luke 7 was both remorseful and repentant.  Her act of gratitude was sincere, if not dignified.  Yet she did not care about appearances, nor should she have.

In Pauline theology faith is inherently active.  In the Letter of James, in contrast, faith is intellectualized.  This need not prove confusing.  Choose a word–such as “faith” or “day” or “believe,” O reader.  How many meanings do you attach to each word?  And how many ways have you heard others use those same words?  Biblical writers did not always attach the same meaning to a given word either.  Anyhow, as I was saying, in Pauline theology faith is inherently active.  As a person thinks, so he or she behaves.  So, in Pauline theology, faith saves us from our sinful selves and grace–God’s unearned favor–justifies us with God.  So, after we have sinned, we still have hope.  That is excellent news.

Yet do we forgive ourselves?  God forgives the remorseful and repentant.  Many of our fellow human beings forgive us.  And do we forgive those who have expressed remorse and who have repented?

As Brother Theo, a Roman Catholic monk and a character in Babylon 5 (1994-1998), a wonderful series, said in Passing Through Gethsemane, a profound episode, said of forgiveness,

I don’t anything can ever be more difficult.

Theo continued,

I believe you were saying that forgiveness is a hard thing but something ever to strive for, were you not, Captain?

Here ends the lesson, and I need to learn it at least as much as many others do.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 12, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF DESIDERIUS ERASMUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN GUALBERT, FOUNDER OF THE VALLOMBROSAN BENEDICTINES

THE FEAST OF NATHAN SODERBLOM, ECUMENIST

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Feast of Frederick Oakeley (January 30)   1 comment

Vatican Flag

Above:  Vatican Flag

Image in the Public Domain

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FREDERICK OAKELEY (SEPTEMBER 5, 1802-JANUARY 29, 1880)

Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest

Frederick Oakeley was the son of Sir Charles Oakeley, former Governor of Madras.  The younger Oakeley graduated from Oxford and became a priest of The Church of England.  His brother-in-law, William George Ward, brought him over to  the Tractarian camp of the Established Church.  So it was, in 1839, while serving at All Saints’ Church, Margaret Street, London, that Oakeley attracted attention (much of it negative) because of his Anglo-Catholic ways.  James Moffatt, in his companion volume to the 1927 Scottish Presbyterian Hymnary, noted Oakeley’s

ultra-ritualistic service (page 450),

a comment I would expect from a Presbyterian of a certain stripe.  Oakeley’s drift toward Roman Catholicism led to his suspension and his formal conversion in 1845.  He became Canon of Westminster in 1852.  Oakeley wrote extensively on matters of Roman Catholic doctrine and liturgy, especially antiphonal chanting.  Robert Guy McCutchan, in his companion volume to the 1935 U.S. Methodist Hymnal, observed

His publications were numerous, some having considerable value.  (page 132)

Such faint praise from a Methodist source in the 1930s does not surprise me, given the relative state of ecumenism at the time.

Perhaps Oakeley’s best known hymn is “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” which he translated from Latin, in which there are eight stanzas.  Most English versions in hymnals have fewer stanzas, however.  I collect hymnals, many of which I have consulted while preparing this post.  Some of these volumes contain a different English translation, that of Edward Caswall.  Others contain Oakeley’s translation.  And certain hymnals offer hybrid versions.  I have reconstructed a five-verse Oakeley version from The Hymnal (1933) of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and The Hymnal of the Evangelical United Brethren Church (1957).

O come, all ye faithful,

Joyful and triumphant, (or Joyfully triumphant)

O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem!

Come and behold Him

Born the King of Angels!

Refrain:

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

Christ the Lord!

The Brightness of glory,

Light of light eternal,

Our lowly nature

He hath not abhorred:

Son of the Father, Word of God Incarnate!

Refrain

O see how the shepherds,

Summoned to His cradle,

Now leaving their flocks,

Draw nigh with lowly fear;

We, too, will thither bend our joyful footsteps;

Refrain

O sing, choirs of angels,

Sing in exultation,

O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above! (or Through heaven’s arches be your praises poured!)

Glory to God (or Now to our God be glory)

In the highest!

Refrain

Amen, Lord, we greet Thee,

Born this happy morning; (or Born for our salvation)

O Jesus, to Thee be glory giv’n; (or Jesus, be forever Thy name adored:)

Word of the Father,

Now in flesh appearing,

Refrain

I have researched, drafted, and typed this post immediately prior to Advent 2012.  So it seems appropriate to ponder Oakeley, a translator of one of the great Christmas carols, at this moment.  His legacy survives him; it is current.  Recently, while spending too much time at YouTube, I found a video of cats meowing the hymn.  It was not a sublime experience.  No, “O Come, All Ye Faithful” deserves more respect, as does Frederick Oakeley.

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definition and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Frederick Oakeley)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 30, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREW THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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Revised on November 21, 2016

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Proper 5, Year C   Leave a comment

a-light-to-lighten-the-gentiles

Above:  Design Drawing for Stained-Glass Window for Bogart Community Church in Bogota, New Jersey, with a Text, “A Light to Lighten the Gentiles,” Showing the Presentation in the Temple

Image Source = Library of Congress

God, Who Surprises Us and Crosses Barriers

The Sunday Closest to June 8

The Third Sunday after Pentecost

JUNE 5, 2016

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The Assigned Readings:

1 Kings 17:8-16 (17-24) and Psalm 146

or 

1 Kings 17:17-24 and Psalm 30

then 

Galatians 1:11-24

Luke 7:11-17

The Collect:

O God, from whom all good proceeds: Grant that by your inspiration we may think those things that are right, and by your merciful guiding may do them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

Proper 5, Year A:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/proper-5-year-a/

Proper 5, Year B:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/proper-5-year-b/

Prayer of Praise and Adoration:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/prayer-of-praise-and-adoration-for-the-third-sunday-after-pentecost/

Prayer of Confession:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/prayer-of-confession-for-the-third-sunday-after-pentecost/

Prayer of Dedication:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/prayer-of-dedication-for-the-third-sunday-after-pentecost/

1 Kings 17:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/week-of-proper-5-tuesday-year-2/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/proper-27-year-b/

Galatians 1:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/week-of-proper-22-monday-year-2-and-week-of-proper-22-tuesday-year-2/

Luke 7:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/devotion-for-the-sixteenth-and-seventeenth-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/week-of-proper-19-tuesday-year-1/

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Widows were among the most vulnerable members of society in biblical times.  So the sons raised from the dead in 1 Kings 17 and Luke 7 were crucial because they were males.  Each son had to support his mother financially and protect her from other threats.

I detect another thread in the assigned readings.  Elijah received help from a widow at Zarephath, in Gentile territory.  She was quite poor yet God provided for the widow, her son, and the prophet. Then the prophet raised her son from the dead.  And Paul was the great Apostle to Gentiles.  Who would have expected someone with his background to accept that mission?  In modern parlance, he had been more Catholic than the Pope, so to speak.  God is full of wonderful surprises.

And we play parts in many of those surprises.  Dare we obey God’s call on our lives to become willing instruments of blessing upon others?  Will that call send us into what (for us) is Gentile territory?  If we define ourselves as this and others as that, what will such assignments mean for our identity?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 8, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF BETTY FORD, U.S. FIRST LADY AND ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

THE FEAST OF ALBERT RHETT STUART, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF GEORGIA

THE FEAST OF BROOKE FOSS WESTCOTT, ANGLICAN BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT GRIMWALD, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

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Posted November 30, 2012 by neatnik2009 in June 5, Revised Common Lectionary Year C

Tagged with

Feast of Richard Frederick Littledale (January 11)   Leave a comment

Church of England Logo

Above:  Logo of The Church of England

Image in the Public Domain

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RICHARD FREDERICK LITTLEDALE (SEPTEMBER 14, 1833-JANUARY 11, 1890)

Anglican Priest and Translator of Hymns

The Irish-born Richard Frederick Littledale graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, with a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degree in 1862, the same year he collected a Doctor of Civil Law (D.C.L.) comitatus causa degree from Oxford.  The priest served St. Matthew’s, Thorpe Hamlet, Norfolk, and St. Mary the Virgin, Crown Street, Soho, London, but spent most of his career on literary pursuits due to persistent ill health.  Littledale, an Anglo-Catholic, heard more confessions than most Anglican priests; only Edward Bouverie Pusey heard more than he did.

Littledale was a very intelligent man.  He, blessed with a nearly photographic memory, proved to be a formidable debater.  He put those skills to use in his Plain Reasons for Not Joining the Church of Rome, a defense of The Church of England.  And he was a skilled liturgist; he co-edited The Priest’s Prayer-Book (1864) and The People’s Hymnal (1867).  Littledale, a good friend of John Mason Neale,  collaborated with him on Biblical commentaries, including four volumes on the Book of Psalms.

Littledale, a trained linguist, translated hymns from six languages into English.  One of those works was “Come Down, O Love Divine,” which he incorporated into The People’s Hymnal.

Come down, O love divine;

Seek thou this soul of mine

and visit it with thine own ardor glowing;

O Comforter, draw near;

within my heart appear

and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

Oh, let it freely burn,

till worldly passions turn

to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;

and let thy glorious light

shine ever on my sight,

and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let holy charity

mine outward vesture be,

and lowliness become mine inner clothing–

true lowliness of heart,

which takes the humbler part,

and o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong,

with which the soul will long,

shall far outpass the pow’r of human telling;

no soul can guess Love’s grace

till it becomes the place

wherein the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling.

Project Canterbury has a useful page of Littledale’s writings here.

I have sung this hymn and many others for years without knowing much or anything about those who made the hymn possible.  One of the joys of this new phase of my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is learning some of those stories.  The saints cover a great deal of theological ground.  For example, Littledale argued against converting to Roman Catholicism but Frederick Oakeley, the  next addition, did convert to it.  We Christians need not agree all or most of the time.  And, after a while, certain disagreements become minor or irrelevant points.  We humans fall into camps, cliques, and tribes naturally; I notice that tendency in myself.  And I defend my tribe (The Episcopal Church, mainly its left-of-center wing) vigorously.  But I do so as I recognize  that Christ has sheep in many folds, not just the one to which I have converted.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 30, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREW THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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O God, by your Holy Spirit you give to some the word of wisdom,

to others the word of knowledge,

and to others the word of faith:

We praise your Name for the gifts of grace manifested in your servant Richard Frederick Littledale,

and we pray that your Church may never be destitute of such gifts;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:97-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16

John 17:18-23

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 720

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Revised on November 21, 2016

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Proper 4, Year C   Leave a comment

roman-centurion-window

Above:  Design Drawing for Stained Glass for Memorial Window with Centurion for Church of the Good Shepherd in Raleigh, North Carolina

Image Source = Library of Congress

Divine Inclusion and Human Exclusion

The Sunday Closest to June 1

The Second Sunday after Pentecost

MAY 29, 2016

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The Assigned Readings:

1 Kings 18:20-21 (22-29), 30-39 and Psalm 96

or 

1 Kings 8:22-23, 41-43 and Psalm 96

then 

Galatians 1:1-12

Luke 7:1-10

The Collect:

Almighty and merciful God, it is only by your gift that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service: Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

Proper 4, Year A:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/proper-4-year-a/

Proper 4, Year B:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/proper-4-year-b/

Prayer of Praise and Adoration:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/prayer-of-praise-and-adoration-for-the-second-sunday-after-pentecost/

Prayer of Confession:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/prayer-of-confession-for-the-second-sunday-after-pentecost/

Prayer of Dedication:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/prayer-of-dedication-for-the-second-sunday-after-pentecost/

Luke 7:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/devotion-for-the-sixteenth-and-seventeenth-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/week-of-proper-19-monday-year-1/

Galatians 1:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/week-of-proper-22-monday-year-2-and-week-of-proper-22-tuesday-year-2/

1 Kings 8:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/proper-16-year-b/

1 Kings 18:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/week-of-proper-5-wednesday-year-2/

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A summary of the readings follows:  There is only one God, from whom people (including Elijah and Paul) have received revelations.  The message of God is for all people, who are supposed to revere the deity.  And sometimes one finds deep faith in unexpected quarters.

That last statement, a reference to the Gospel reading, appeals to me on one level and humbles me on another.  I have spent much of my life feeling like a heretic in the Bible Belt.  (I AM A HERETIC IN THE BIBLE BELT.)  Sometimes even Episcopal Church congregations–where I, one who enjoys asking probing questions, exploring possibilities, and becoming comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity, should find a safe haven–have not always provided safe havens. And so I have been as the Roman centurion–a goy one way another.  Yet God accepts me, however heretical I might be.

Nevertheless I also find a reason for caution and humility.  Which populations do I mark unjustly (without knowing that I am doing this unjustly) as beyond the pale theologically?  Whom do I mistake as a member of a den of heretics?  I am clearly not a Universalist; there are theological lines which  God has established.  There is truth–revealed truth–and many people occupy the wrong side of it.  But do I know where those lines are?  How much do I really know, and how much do I just think I know?  And who will surprise me by being present in Heaven?

I tell myself to mind my own business, to be the best and most conscientious person I can be.  I tell myself to practice compassion and to leave judgment to God.  Sometimes I do.  And I know better the rest of the time.  Thus, aware of this failing of mine, I read Luke 7:1-10 with humility.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 4, 2012 COMMON ERA

INDEPENDENCE DAY (U.S.A.)

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Posted November 30, 2012 by neatnik2009 in May 29, Revised Common Lectionary Year C

Tagged with

Feast of Charles Kingsley (January 23)   3 comments

Flag of England

Above:  Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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CHARLES KINGSLEY (JUNE 12, 1819-JANUARY 23, 1875)

Anglican Priest, Novelist, and Hymn Writer

Charles Kingsley, son of an Anglican priest, witnessed the Bristol Riots of 1831 when he was a boy.  The riots were related to denied demands to redistribute parliamentary seats, to establish proper representation.  Violence followed frustration and led to the destruction of property and the loss of life.  The riots made a deep depression on the young Kingsley, who had a sensitive nature.

Kingsley continued his education, which terminated formally at Magdalene College, Cambridge.  He, ordained priest in 1842, served as Curate of Eversley until 1844, when he became Rector there.  Later positions included chaplain to Queen Victoria (1859-1860), Professor of Modern History, Cambridge (1860-1869), Canon of Chester (1869-1873), and Canon of Westminster (1873-1875).

Kingsley, a British liberal, supported Darwinian Evolution (even in 1859, making him an early defender of the great scientist) and advocated for Christian Socialism.  Needless to say, he was no stranger to controversy.  He, a skilled novelist who wrote very descriptive passages, published Christian Socialist novels, including Acton Locke (1850) and Yeast (1851).  The politics of these novels led to Kingsley’s temporary inhibition by the Bishop of London.  The priest also wrote historical novels, including Hypatia (1853) and Westward Ho (1855).

James Moffatt, in his companion volume to the 1927 Scottish Presbyterian Hymmary, struggled with Kingsley’s Christian Socialism.  Moffatt commended Kingsley for being a

chivalrous friend of the poor (page 393)

yet wrote in a cautious tone regarding Christian Socialism.  Nevertheless, Moffatt did leave a final verdict:  Kingsley was a

courageous idealist

who sought to act kindly.

Yet, reality being as complicated as it is, acting out of idealism can prove difficult sometimes.  In 1865, in Jamaica, economic injustice mixed with frustrations led to riots in which innocent people died.  Finally, the colonial governor, Edward Eyre, sent in troops to end the uprising.  This action led to the threat of legal jeopardy for Eyre.  Some people sought to scapegoat Eyre, in fact.  Kingsley joined a committee to oppose this attempted scapegoating.  Perhaps nobody in the Jamaican events was on the side of the angels.  I suppose that Kingsley’s memories of the 1831 Bristol Riots influenced his thinking in 1866.  And I leave the final verdict to God.

Kingsley also debated with John Henry Newman; the latter was the superior controversalist.  But Kingsley did have a sensitive nature, one not well attuned to debating.  Yet, if you, O reader, ever found Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua helpful, you have the debate with Kingsley to thank for that book’s existence.

On December 4, 1871, at the laying of the foundation for a new wing of Queen’s Hospital, Birmingham, a thousand-voice choir debuted a new hymn by Kingsley.  Hymnals omit the first two verses and entitle the hymn “From Thee All Skill and Science Flow.”  Robert Guy McCutchan, in his 1937 companion volume to the U.S. Methodist Hymnal (1935), quoted an unidentified source which called this hymn

the epitome of his [Kingsley’s] life, and a mirror of his mind and heart.  (page 453)

The full lyrics follow:

Accept this building, gracious Lord,

No temple though it be;

We raised it for our suffering kin

And so, good Lord, for Thee.

Accept our little gift, and give,

To all who here may dwell,

The will and power to do their work,

Or bear their sorrows well.

From Thee all skill and science flow,

All pity, care and love,

All calm and courage, faith and hope:

O pour them from above!

And part them, Lord, to each and all,

As each and all shall need,

To rise, like incense, each to Thee,

In noble thought and deed.

And hasten, Lord, that perfect day

When pain and death shall cease,

And Thy just rule shall fill the earth

With health and light and peace;

When ever blue the sky shall gleam,

And ever green the sod,

And man’s rude work deface no more

The paradise of God.

Charles Kingsley’s legacy is one of caring for others.  Jesus and the Hebrew prophets would have approved.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 30, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREW THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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Almighty God, we praise you for hour servant Charles Kingsley,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up, in our own day, teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2o06), page 60

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Revised on November 21, 2016

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Trinity Sunday, Year C   Leave a comment

Above:  A Tango Postcard

May God Have This Dance?

FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

MAY 22, 2016

JUNE 16, 2019

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The Assigned Readings for This Sunday:

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

Psalm 8 or Canticle 13 from The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

Romans 5:1-5

John 16:12-15

The Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

Prayer of Praise and Adoration for Trinity Sunday:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/prayer-of-praise-and-adoration-for-trinity-sunday/

Prayer of Confession for Trinity Sunday:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/prayer-of-confession-for-trinity-sunday-2/

Prayer of Dedication for Trinity Sunday:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/prayer-of-dedication-for-trinity-sunday/

Alta Trinita Beata:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/alta-trinita-beata/

Trinitarian Benedictions:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/trinitarian-benedictions/

Prayer of Confession for Trinity Sunday:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/prayer-of-confession-for-trinity-sunday/

Ancient of Days:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/ancient-of-days/

Thou, Whose Almighty Word:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/thou-whose-almighty-word/

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Wisdom literature, from Proverbs to Sirach/Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon, personifies divine wisdom as feminine.  Much of this imagery influenced the prologue to the Gospel of John, in which Jesus is the Logos of God; the Logos resembles divine wisdom.  Thus, in Proverbs 8, we read a premonition of the Second Person of the Trinity.  The  Second and Third Persons come up in Romans 5 and John 16.  And both possible responses address the First Person of the Trinity.

The doctrine of the Trinity is a fine example of theology.  The doctrine has no single, definitive passage of scripture to attest to it.  Rather, it is the product of deep Christian thinkers who pondered a number of passages carefully and put them together.  Some professing Christians disapprove of that process of doctrine-making; it is, to them, like sausage-making in the simile of laws and sausages:  it is better not to know how they are made.  But that comparison does not apply to sound doctrine, a category in which I file the Trinity.  Those who object to the process of sound doctrine-making are living ironies, for they are more attached to such doctrines than I am.  Yet the process by which the Church itself–a human institution–arrived at them–offends such people.  Such doctrines, they prefer to imagine, fall from Heaven fully formed.  Karen Armstrong is correct:

…fundamentalism is ahistorical….

A History of God:  The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), page xx

(I, alas, have had some unfortunate conversations with some rather doctrinaire and less than intellectually and historically inquisitive professing Christians.  They have rendered me even more allergic to Fundamentalism than I already was.)

I propose that the best way to understand as much as possible about God is through poetry and other art forms.  We humans, I have heard, danced our religion before we thought it.  And the doctrine of the Trinity is at least as much artistry as it is theology.  The nature of God is a mystery to embrace and experience, not to attempt to understand.  So, O reader, dance with God, who seeks you as a partner on the dance floor.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CORNELIUS HILL, ONEIDA CHIEF AND EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN THE GEORGIAN, ABBOT; AND SAINTS EUTHYMIUS OF ATHOS AND GEORGE OF THE BLACK MOUNTAIN, ABBOTS AND TRANSLATORS

THE FEAST OF PHILIP MELANCHTON, GERMAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN [WITH THE PRESENTATION OF THE AUGSBURG CONFESSION]

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Feast of Joseph Barnby (January 28)   2 comments

Above:  Minster Choir East, York, England

Image Source = Library of Congress

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SIR JOSEPH BARNBY (AUGUST 12, 1838-JANUARY 28, 1896)

Anglican Church Musician and Composer

Each of us, in order to achieve his or her potential, needs the desire to accomplish it, the proper work ethic, and the opportunities to apply the desire and the work ethic.  Sir Joseph Barnby was quite fortunate, for he had all three.

Barnby, born at York, England, joined the York Minster choir at age seven.  He began to teach three years later and to work as an organist at age twelve.  He became the master of his school at age fifteen.  The alumnus of the Royal Academy of Music had a distinguished career in music, mostly in church settings.  His church choirs in London parishes, the best such ensembles in that city. performed the Passions of Johann Sebastian Bach annually.  Barnby conducted the first performances of Richard Wagner‘s Parsifal and Antonin Dvorak‘s Stabat Mater in England.  And Barnby served as musical advisor to Novello, Ewer and Company from 1861 to 1876.  The firm founded a choir for him to lead.  He worked as Director of  Music at Eton College from 1875 to 1892, conducted the Royal Choral Society, and became (in 1892) the Principal of the Guildhall School of Music.  His knighthood (in 1892) was merited yet rare for choral directors.

Barnby was a prolific composer.  Robert Guy McCutchan wrote of the saint in the 1937 companion volume to the U.S. Methodist Hymnal of 1935.  Barnby, McCutchan  wrote, was

…one of the most prolific, if not the greatest of the late nineteenth-century group of hymn-tune writers.

–page 57

Barnby composed an oratio (Rebekah), solo pieces, service music, anthems for choirs, and 246 hymn tunes.  Perhaps the best-known hymn tune he composed was Laudes Domini, the traditional tune for “When Morning Gilds the Skies.”

Barnby also edited five hymnals, the most renowned of which is the 1872 Anglican Hymnary, a High Church volume.  If you, O reader, desire to find a copy of that book, follow this link, where you will find it available in various formats.

The positive legacy of Sir Joseph Barnby lingers, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 26, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN BERCHMANS, ROMAN CATHOLIC SEMINARIAN

THE FEAST OF ISAAC WATTS, HYMN WRITER

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Joseph Barnby and all those who

with words and images have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

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Revised on November 21, 2016

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Day of Pentecost, Year C   Leave a comment

Above:  Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit, Cumming, Georgia, Pentecost Sunday, June 12 2011

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

The Inclusive Gospel of Jesus

MAY 15, 2016

JUNE 9, 2019

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The Assigned Readings for This Sunday:

Acts 2:1-21 or Genesis 11:1-9

Psalm 104:25-35, 37

Romans 8:14-17 or Acts 2:1-21

John 7:37-39a

The Collect:

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

A Prayer for Those With Only the Holy Spirit to Intercede for Them:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/a-prayer-for-those-with-only-the-holy-spirit-to-intercede-for-them/

Come Down, O Love Divine:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/come-down-o-love-divine/

Come, Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/come-holy-spirit-heavenly-dove/

Invocation to the Holy Spirit:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/invocation-to-the-holy-spirit/

Holy Spirit, Font of Light:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/holy-spirit-font-of-light/

Prayer of Praise and Adoration for the Day of Pentecost:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/prayer-of-praise-and-adoration-for-the-day-of-pentecost/

Prayer of Confession for the Day of Pentecost:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/prayer-of-confession-for-the-day-of-pentecost/

Prayer of Dedication for the Day of Pentecost:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/prayer-of-dedication-for-the-day-of-pentecost/

Like the Murmur of the Dove’s Song:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/like-the-murmur-of-the-doves-song/

Spirit of God, Unleashed on Earth:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/spirit-of-god-unleashed-on-earth/

Pentecost Prayer of Adoration:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/pentecost-prayer-of-adoration/

Pentecost Prayers for Openness to God:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/pentecost-prayers-for-openness-to-god/

Pentecost Prayers of Confession:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/pentecost-prayers-of-confession/

Come, Holy Spirit, Come!:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/come-holy-spirit-come/

Come, Blessed Spirit! Source of Light!:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/come-blessed-spirit-source-of-light/

Come to Our Poor Nature’s Night:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/come-to-our-poor-natures-night/

Holy Ghost, With Light Divine:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/holy-ghost-with-light-divine/

Divine Spirit, Attend Our Prayers:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2012/05/19/spirit-divine-attend-our-prayers/

Come, Thou Holy Spirit Bright:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/come-thou-holy-spirit-bright/

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The LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS blog terminates each church year at the Day of Pentecost.  This practice makes sense because Pentecost Sunday is the last day of the Easter season.  There is another reason, however.  Liturgical renewal and restructuring for most of Western Christianity, beginning with the Roman Catholic Church in Advent 1969, has led to the labeling of the subsequent Sundays in Ordinary Time (beginning two weeks after Pentecost Sunday) as “after Pentecost” in lieu of the prior dominant practice, “after Trinity.”  (Disclaimer:  U.S. Methodists used to divide the post-Pentecost and pre-Advent time into two seasons:  Whitsuntude and Kingdomtide, with the latter beginning on the last Sunday in August.  And the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal (1958) lists Ordinary Time Sundays as both “after Pentecost” and “after Trinity.”)  Trinity Sunday, of course, is the Sunday immediately following the Day of Pentecost.  Anyhow, those who continue to observe Sundays after Trinity are liturgical outliers.  My own denomination, since its 1979 Book of Common Prayer and the process which led up to it, operates on the Sundays after Pentecost pattern.  It is what I have known.  The 1928 Book of Common Prayer is an artifact from which I have never worshiped.  Sundays after Trinity seem quaint to me.

So here we are, on the cusp of changing seasons and Sunday numbering (the Propers through 29 are almost upon us), pondering two opposite and assigned stories.  The Tower of Babel myth tells of linguistic differences causing confusion and thwarting human ambitions.  (We know from anthropology, history, and science that linguistic diversity is much older than the timeframe of the Tower of Babel story.)  The sin in the myth is pride, which God confounds.  Yet linguistic variety cannot confound God’s purposes in Acts 2 because God will not permit it to do so.  The proverbial living water of Jesus, whose glorification in the Gospel of John was his crucifixion–something humiliating and shameful by human standards–would be available regardless of one’s language.

Thus the Church was born.  It is always changing and reforming, adapting to changing circumstances and seeking to look past human prejudices and false preconceptions.  I prefer to include as many people as possible while maintaining liturgical reverence and orthodox (Chalcedonian, etc.) Christology.  I do, in other words have boundaries, but they are too large according to those on my right and too small according to those on my left.  That makes me something of a moderate, I suppose.  ”Left of center” might be more accurate.  Regardless of who is correct, may the church and its constituent parts follow the crucified and resurrected Lord and Savior, who transmuted shame and humiliation into glory, who ate with notorious sinners, whose grace scandalized respectable and respected religious authorities.  Or are we become modern counterparts of the scribes and Pharisees with whom Jesus locked horns?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 23, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICETAS OF REMESIANA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF WIREMU TAMIHANA, MAORI PROPHET AND KINGMAKER

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Feast of William Jones (January 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Logo of The Church of England

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM JONES (JULY 30, 1726-JANUARY 6, 1800)

Anglican Priest and Musician

William Jones, born at Lowick, Northamptonshire, England, attended the Charterhouse, Surrey, and University College, Oxford, graduating from University College in 1749.  He led a series of congregations, including the parishes at Bethersdon, Pluckley, Paston, Nayland, and Hollingsbourne, where he died.  He wrote at length and in great detail on matters scientific, philosophical, and theological.  Jones was a Hutchinsonian, a partisan of John Hutchinson (1647-1737), who argued against Newtonian physics, including gravitational theory.  (Aside:  I prefer not to hold this against Jones, for nobody can be correct all the time.)  Jones, in reaction against the French Revolution founded The British Critic, a conservative church journal, in 1793.  That publication, which ceased to exist fifty years later, anticipated the Oxford Movement, for Jones was a High Churchman.

I am adding Jones to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days because of his musical activities.  He wrote A Treatise on the Art of Music (1784), Ten Church Pieces for the Organ, With Four Anthems in Score (1789), and at least one hymn tune, “Newington.”  Jones understood correctly that music could and should play a crucial part in worship and in faith life.  Whatever he did in music, theology, politics, philosophy, or science, whether or not he was correct in objective matters, he did it all for God.  I honor that.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 26, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN BERCHMANS, ROMAN CATHOLIC SEMINARIAN

THE FEAST OF ISAAC WATTS, HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servant William Jones.

Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder, that our eyes may behold your glory,

and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of your new creation

in Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.  

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61

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Revised on November 21, 2016

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